Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Glass Door Refrigerators and Freezers – Do They Waste Energy, or Save it?

When choosing equipment for your business, you may be tempted not even to consider the option of a glass door refrigerator or freezer. Using glass instead of solid doors can seem like a gimmick at best, or even wasteful of energy at worst.

However, there are times when opting for the glass door option can make good business sense. For instance, this type of equipment is often chosen in a retail environment to help display products, in outlets ranging from supermarket freezer sections to drinks cabinets in pubs and bars. Here is a look at some of the circumstances where it could make sense to choose glass door freezers or refrigerators.

Is a Glass Door Refrigerator Less Energy Efficient than a Solid Door Version?

At first glance, it might appear that glass door refrigerators are indeed less energy efficient. All other things being equal, if a glass door and solid door version are run side by side, the glass door version will require more energy to run. This is because a glass door is not as efficient at insulation as a solid door.

But, as soon as door opening is taken into account, the picture changes drastically. The more often a fridge or freezer is opened, the more energy it will consume in order to maintain temperature. This means that glass door models can in practice save energy. This is because these models serve to reduce door openings. Customers can see inside and this means they don't have to open the door to see what's there. They can decide which items they require by looking from outside, and just open the door briefly to retrieve what's wanted.

When to Opt for Glass Doors
Commercial refrigerators or freezers with glass doors are often likely to be an appropriate choice in a retail setting where customers need to see products in order to make a selection. This includes not only shops, but also bars, cafes and takeaways. As well as being practical, glass doors make for a more attractive display, especially when internal lighting is included, and this is likely to boost sales.

A glass door freezer or fridge is also likely to be a good choice for any catering setting where staff need to regularly select products from cabinets. This especially applies when there are multiple cabinets holding different products, for instance with cold drinks behind a bar or with chilled or frozen ingredients which will be needed to prepare meals in a commercial kitchen.

Making it easier to find the specific item required will increase efficiency and save precious time in a busy catering establishment. Using glass doors can also help staff easily to see when stock is low, from a distance. This can help with general efficiency issues around refilling and reordering stock.

When to Opt for Solid Doors
There will be times when a solid door option will be the most sensible choice, however. This includes when food needs longer term storage, especially in the case of frozen food. Commercial freezers and fridges with solid doors are also likely to be preferable in settings where customers and staff don't need to see their contents, or where other methods of stock control are in place which make it unnecessary to check on levels visually.

Solid doors are also the best choice if you are having to work in high ambient temperatures that could compromise product quality. In the case of Porkka's range of Future and Future Plus cabinets,  glass door models can cope with ambient temperatures of up to 32C, but the solid door models have even more scope to cope with heat. They can operate within ambient temperatures of up to 43C, which makes them an ideal option for hot climates or kitchens where the temperature can get very high.

When Energy Use is Paramount
Do you want your business to have the retail and time-saving benefits of glass doors, but are you also keen to minimise energy consumption? If so, Porkka's Future Plus cabinets could be the answer.  Choosing a glass door refrigerator or freezer from this range means you will benefit from its innovative design features. Our Future Plus cabinets have an innovative cooling system which uses 25% less energy than our Future cabinets – thus offsetting any increase in energy consumption as a result of using glass doors.

In addition, every solid door and glass door freezer or refrigerator within both our Future and Future Plus ranges is built with top-quality features to give maximum energy efficiency and help the environment. These include low energy condensers and hot gas defrosting systems, which work fast to avoid unnecessary energy loss. When a cabinet is opened, our evaporator fan motors have an auto switch-off feature, which prevents cold air being lost and energy wasted.

Glass Door Refrigerators and Freezers – Click here to see Porkka's top quality range.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Does Your Business Need a Freezer Room?

As a restaurant or catering business grows, it may not be obvious when to transition from cabinet chillers or freezers to having a dedicated cold room or freezer room. Here we discuss some of the main considerations which tell a business it's time to make the change.

Larger restaurants or food establishments may find themselves running multiple freezer cabinets. However, deciding to switch to freezer rooms could well be more energy-efficient, because you will only have to run one condenser instead of several. Porkka's modular cold rooms all include highly efficient air-cooled condensers in the optimum position, at the lowest point of the refrigeration or freezing unit.

Choosing a freezer room could also prove to be more space-efficient, when taking into account the total floor space available. In a larger space, the shelving can be configured to meet your requirements. Porkka's cold rooms use a four-tier system of shelving which has been designed for easy access, while another feature is the ability to adjust the height, offering the storage you need for the specific frozen items or chilled items you are producing. The modular system means a wide range of possible configurations, which should suit almost every need, but we can also provide custom-built storage if this is required.

Trolley Access
This is an important consideration in a large-volume catering operation, especially where cook-chill meals are being prepared, with food being cooked in GN trays and then chilled or frozen. Even if you are using blast chillers or blast freezers, you may also need a place to store products which have reached the target temperature, in order to make room for the next batch.

A larger freezer room or commercial cold room will provide the answer, giving a place to store food at a steady temperature until it is required and allowing trolleys to bring in and remove batches of food. Porkka's walk in cold rooms have standard flooring with a surface of 9mm non-slip plywood, which is suitable for rubber-wheeled trolley access. We can also supply other types of flooring where heavy duty equipment needs to go into industrial cold rooms, including concrete to take the weight of forklift trucks.

Multiple Staff Access
There may be times when more than one member of staff needs to discuss or look at contents of freezers or chill cabinets, for instance when planning the day's menu, stocktaking or ordering. If you have conventional freezers, this may mean a lot of time is lost in staff standing in front of the cabinet pulling out items and discussing them.

With larger cabinet chillers or freezers, it is inevitably hard to access items which are stored towards the back, as you first have to remove everything stored in front. This means that you have no choice but to keep opening the cabinet doors, with a risk of warm air from the surrounding environment affecting the ideal temperature.

Where staff can actually walk into the room, it is far easier to see what stock is available without a loss of their time. In walk in freezer rooms, there is also no need to take carefully chilled or frozen foods out of the controlled temperature environment in order to carry out stocktaking.

Large or Oddly Shaped Items
Depending on the type of food being prepared, catering establishments or food producers may have to store whole or half animals, which will not easily fit into a conventional freezer or chill cabinet. However, walk in cold rooms will have the space to store these larger items.

The same applies to large crates or containers of produce, which might have to be broken up and put into smaller containers for storage in standard cabinets, but can be accommodated in a larger room. A cold room is also ideal for storing trays of ingredients or recipes in progress, offering the capacity to put them down quickly without having to clear space first.

High Ambient Temperature
Many catering businesses operate in high ambient temperatures, whether this is the result of the climate or just as a result of the heat from a working kitchen. This can be a challenge to any cabinet fridge or freezer every time the door is opened, and make it harder to preserve an even temperature. A larger freezer room is less prone to being affected by ambient heat and sudden temperature changes from outside air, making it easier to store food safely.

Our modular cold rooms come with three different temperature ranges to suit the type of food being stored, and you can also choose a higher level of insulation if there is a high ambient temperature. All the rooms include a digital temperature display, as well as temperature monitoring and memory stick recording as well as a built-in temperature alarm system.

Freezer Room - follow the link to find out more.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Energy Efficient Commercial Refrigerators – A Highly Cost Effective Option

With fuel costs rising relentlessly, it is important to make savings where you can, and as a business owner, one of the ways you can do this is by opting for energy saving commercial refrigerators and freezers.

If you own a food related business, the cost of continuously powering refrigeration units and freezers for hygiene and operational reasons, add up and all this goes a long way to increasing your overheads. However, you can make savings by investing in energy efficient commercial fridges and freezers, such as Porkka’s Future Plus Cabinets, which will significantly reduce your running costs.

Future and Future Plus chiller and freezer cabinets have been granted the seal of approval by the UK Carbon Trust Agency for their energy saving capabilities – as they run on more than a third less energy in comparison to other similar products.  As a result, a company that invests in a Future or Future Plus single door unit will be rewarded with tax incentives. This is because both units are eligible for the UK government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme, a system designed to promote environmental awareness by encouraging companies to buy energy saving equipment.

While  some businesses may be drawn into buying second hand commercial refrigerators to save cash, this is likely to be counter-productive in the long run as it amounts to higher running costs, and the unit may require repairs or replacement in the near future.  Instead, Porkka’s Future and Future Plus cabinets are seen as a smarter purchase as they benefit from low running costs, demonstrating that buying new can save money in the long run!

Commercial Refrigerators – Click the link for more information.

The Cost of Running a Commercial Refrigerator

While the average yearly cost of running a new or ‘older style’ commercial refrigeration unit will vary – depending on a variety of factors including the age of the unit, size and frequency of use – Future and Future Plus cabinets bring significant savings. Future Plus chillers, for example, are proven to consume 35 per cent less energy when compared to competitors’ products. They are more efficient too – almost 150 per cent more efficient per 100 kg load – which is why they are such a popular purchase for a number of organisations including the commercial food industry.

Porkka’s Approach to Energy Efficiency

Porkka believe in being market leaders in commercial refrigeration equipment and our products benefit from various design innovations that help make the Future Plus range especially efficient.

These include the following:

Hot gas defrost system which runs automatically – The build up of frost in a refrigeration unit can drastically reduce its performance and in the long run can block air flow. Porkka's automatic hot gas defrost system saves energy and makes the refrigeration unit more efficient and economical to run.

Low energy condensers and evaporator fan motors – These turn off automatically as soon as the door opens to prevent the loss of cold air, which again goes a long way in improving the overall performance of your refrigerator.

Highly efficient cooling system – This feature is unique to the Future Plus series; it helps keep running costs down as these cabinets use a quarter less energy than our Future cabinets.  The system works by drawing cooler air from the bottom of the unit, which reduces the amount of cooling required by the compressor.  As well as minimising running costs, this helps to extend the life of the compressor unit, so it means lower replacement costs over time and will ultimately increase the lifespan of the unit.

Energy Efficient Commercial Refrigerators Can Be Offset Against Tax

Buying new and unused energy efficient commercial refrigerators or freezers can be written off against tax, providing that the equipment qualifies under the UK ECA Scheme – and the good news is that Porkka’s Future and Future Plus single door units do!

This tax incentive was launched in 2001 to encourage companies to put their money into energy saving equipment. It is open to all businesses, of any size, paying UK corporation or income tax.

The scheme allows for 100 per cent first year capital allowances on money spent on energy-saving equipment (such as Porkka’s Future and Future Plus units) against taxable profits of the period of investment, and is an added incentive to invest in our Future and Future Plus commercial refrigerators!

Future Plus Chiller Units  – Click here to find out more about our energy saving commercial fridges and freezers.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Reach-In Blast Chillers and Blast Freezers – Essential Kit for MasterChefs Everywhere

The recent series of hit TV show 'MasterChef: The Professionals' showed contestants using a wide array of modern cooking equipment, including water baths, temperature probes, blast chillers and blast freezers. This demonstrated how such gadgets have become essential kit in professional kitchens, including high-end, traditional fine dining establishments.

If a name like Michel Roux accepts the use of this type of equipment, then it shows that blast chillers and freezers must be adding significant value to the end results. It is plain to see that using these items is not just about high-volume production of cook-chill ready meals on an industrial scale - it is also about preserving quality and flavour, as well as achieving precise, consistent results.

Blast Freezers  – Click the link for more information.

Uses for Blast Chillers and Freezers in the Modern Professional Kitchen

Enabling Creativity: Many top chefs know that equipment such as blast freezers and chillers can be used to achieve special effects fast. This applies when working with cold desserts such as ice cream, parfaits, granitas, sorbets and other puddings, as well as preparations which need to "set" in the fridge, such as panna cottas, jellies and blancmanges.

Because these desserts can be set so swiftly, in a matter of minutes rather than hours, it is much easier to create elaborate layered masterpieces, built from flavoured creams and panna cotta together with ice cream. If you are just relying on a normal fridge, this type of culinary creation will take a very long time to finish, as you will have to wait for each layer to set... but, with modern equipment, you can let your imagination run free.

Putting You In Control: With some types of dish, it is important to avoid the creation of macro-crystals, which are formed during very slow freezing and can affect the flavour. Fortunately, Porkka's innovative designs allow you to vary the speed of chilling, with up to eight different programs available to suit different types of food, so that operators can consider their requirements for both taste and speed. Chilling fans help to optimise the results still further.

This state-of-the-art equipment means you can blast freeze even foods with delicate flavours, such as soft fruit and fresh meat, in the knowledge that they will still taste good when they are defrosted to use in your recipes. Japanese chefs have long used blast freezers to preserve fish for sushi dishes, keeping the flavour almost identical to that of freshly-caught fish. When thawed and reheated, pasta dishes which have been blast frozen will also taste as if they had been freshly cooked. 

To achieve optimum effects, it is also important to have enough space to chill or freeze the required amount of food. So it is good to know that Porkka's blast freezers and chillers come in a range of sizes to suit different kitchens. Even the smallest models in the range are capable of high productivity, because the short chilling and freezing times mean they can cope with large quantities over a time period. 

Saving Time and Ensuring Hygiene: By using blast chillers, it is possible to chill foodstuffs down to a safe temperature quickly,  before “bringing back" these items later for the next stage of cooking. This is especially important for larger restaurants which need to do as much preparation of ingredients as possible beforehand, but still want to serve freshly prepared meals.

Being able to chill food quickly is also a help in terms of hygiene and reducing waste, which are top considerations in any commercial kitchen. Food can be taken directly from the oven or hob and chilled quickly, with no waiting around for it to reach an acceptable temperature to be put into a standard fridge. Fast chilling of wine and champagne is yet another advantage of using this type of equipment, as you will no longer have to keep so many different bottles on ice just in case they are required.

Guaranteeing Consistency:
Putting food into a conventional fridge to cool down means regular interruptions as the door is opened for other purposes, so you can't guarantee temperature levels. A quality fine dining experience requires precision in temperature and timings – and blast chilling can deliver both, leading to higher quality and less waste. This process can also retain flavours, and ensure that delicate dishes which need to be cooled and served on another day still taste just as good as if they had been eaten when freshly prepared. All in all, using blast freezers and chillers is a great way to achieve professional quality results with less time and effort.

About Porkka

Porkka supply a wide range of top quality blast chillers and freezers, with all the latest features that professional kitchens require. Our models meet all Codex and DHSS standards – and you can rely on them to give the performance you want.

Blast Chillers – Follow the link to browse our product range.